THE UNITED STATES IS BLUFFING

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THE UNITED STATES IS BLUFFING

Izvestia, January 27, 2000, p. 1

According to Andrei Kochetkov, head of the analytical department of the oil company LUKoil, Washington’s threats to lower world oil prices in order to punish Russia for the war in Chechnya are just a bluff.

Theoretically, Washington could really do so; but that means it would have to reduce demand, which is mostly determined nowadays in the United States.

All over the world, analysts believe that oil prices will even go up soon, precisely because of the cold weather affecting America.

Kochetkov says that the US Administration will probably use some other means to have its revenge on Russia – something like making international loans unavailable.

VOTING IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WILL TAKE PLACE IN CHECHNYA

Izvestia, January 27, 2000, p. 2

According to Central Electoral Commission Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov, voting in the presidential election on March 26 will take place in Chechnya. As for the parliamentary election in the Chechen single-mandate district No 31, it will become clear by the end of the week whether the conditions for its organization are favorable. Central Electoral Commission staff are working in Chechnya now to decide this issue. The final decision will be made with the participation of Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov, chairman of the Chechen electoral commission, who is expected in Moscow for the conference of chairs of regional electoral commissions.

Veshnyakov says that the election in Chechnya will take place only in the districts “where it is possible to organize it without any violations”.

TAX POLICE VS THE UNDERWORLD

Izvestia, January 27, 2000, p. 2

Tax policemen are “under pressure” from the underworld, Yuri Prikhodko told a correspondent of ITAR-TASS news agency. Prikhodko is head of the Main Directorate of security and combating corruption of the Federal Service of Tax Police. In 1999, 54 major crimes were committed against tax police officers, including two murders and twenty cases of arson and bombings of cars and apartments.

Tax police were threatened in 1999 on 442 occasions. Three hundred criminal charges were laid in such cases, and 73 criminals were convicted and imprisoned. On 94 occasions, the underworld tried to infiltrate the Tax Police.

PUTIN’S AMAZING CLIMB IN THE POLLS

Trud-7, January 27, 2000, p. 2

Opinion polls conducted by the All-Russian Center of Public Opinion Research indicate the dissatisfaction of concerned Russians with the federal government in the lead-up to the presidential election.

In August, only 2 per cent would have voted for Vladimir Putin; and 26 per cent for Gennadi Zyuganov. In a poll conducted on January 14-17, 62 per cent would have voted for Putin, and only 15 per cent for Zyuganov.

The Public Opinion Foundation released its own findings. According to the Foundation, 71 per cent of respondents believe that if the acting president is elected, he will do better than his predecessor Boris Yeltsin.

ON FEDERAL LOSSES IN CHECHNYA

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, January 27, 2000, p. 1

The Defense Ministry has lost 820 servicemen in Dagestan and Chechnya, and 2,235 servicemen have been wounded, according to the PR department of the Defense Ministry.

On the whole, between August 2, 1999, and January 25, 2000, federal casualties were: 1,173 killed in action, 3,487 wounded, and 53 missing.

During the Chechen campaign of 1994-96, the Russian Armed Forces lost 2,941 serviceman killed in action, and 17,892 were wounded. The Interior Troops lost 986 servicemen, and border guards lost 35 men.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RELEASED A STATEMENT…

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, January 26, 2000, 12:00

The Russian Foreign Ministry has released a statement on the possibility of sanctions being imposed on Russia by the Council of Europe.

Alexander Yakovenko, an official representative of the Foreign Ministry, made a statement on the matter of sanctions the West may impose against Russia because of the war in Chechnya. Moscow would make an appropriate response, and the Council of Europe would be harmed by the sanctions no less than Russia itself. To quote Yakovenko, “competent Russian ministries will consider the possible practical consequences of the decision on sanctions and the necessity of taking measures to protect Russia’s interests.”

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DISCUSSES THE CHECHEN ISSUE

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, January 26, 2000, 14:00

Yesterday the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided against suspending the Russian parliamentary delegation. Today the Parliamentary Assembly heard the report of its delegation which had visited the Caucasus.

A Chechen delegation arrived in Strasbourg. It includes Seilam Beshayev, who introduces himself as deputy chairman of the Ichkerian parliament, and Turpal Kaimov, chairman of the budget committee of the parliament. Their ID cards have provisional addresses and telephones in Warsaw.

Beshayev: The city of Grozny has been wiped from the face of the earth. One hundred and twenty-four other settlements are completely destroyed, with not a single building left standing. More than 20,000 Chechens – they are mostly civilians, children, the elderly, and women – have been murdered.

Kaimov: There are bodies of Russian servicemen all over Grozny, while the official Russian propaganda says that they lost ten servicemen and fifteen were wounded.

The two Chechens were invited to Strasbourg by the Danish delegation. It certainly seems that the so-called Chechen delegation has some contacts in the international community.

Arimantas Raskinis, a Lithuanian deputy: The Lithuanian parliament includes a group of parliamentarians who support Chechnya. We also have a new bureau which we use to get information on what is happening in Chechnya.

The Chechens released a special statement at the Council of Europe. Today they will meet with members of committees and commissions of the Parliamentary Assembly. They intend to release some documents and photos which they say will surely have an effect on the ultimate decision of the Council of Europe.

THE RUSSIAN-BELARUSSIAN UNION TREATY IS NOW IN EFFECT

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, January 26, 2000, 12:00

The Russian-Belarussian Union treaty comes into effect from the moment leaders of the two countries exchange documents on ratification.

The Belarussian president was met in the Kremlin at about 9:30 a.m. After a short conversation, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko attended the exchange ceremony.

Putin: The treaty is in the national interests of the two countries, and is an embodiment of the desire of our peoples to live and work together.

Lukashenko: I view the treaty as an act of historical justice. This is phase one of the natural and logical process of restoration of a country once torn apart.

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